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  • Writer's picturewijnhuiswest

Say Cheese to impress

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

The sheer amount of different types of wine can sometimes be quite overwhelming. Like with wines, this is also the case with cheese. What should you actually pay attention to with your wine and cheese pairing?




What wine to drink with cheese?


When someone opens a bottle of wine a cheese platter will almost always follow. Now imagine that you are asked to combine these delicacies and put a well-balanced cheese board on the table. There is a lot to choose from and not every wine will embrace your favourite piece of cheese.


What should you actually pay attention to with your wine and cheese pairing? It would of course be a waste of wine and cheese if one trumps the other. With all these choices it may seem like looking for a needle in a haystack and when finally finding it you are asked to look for a piece of tread that will fit the eye of the needle. But don't despair because we will help you put together a beautiful cheese board to impress your friends with.


When you want to combine cheese and wine, the mouth feel of both must match. For example, a tight and fresh goat's cheese will go very well with a tight and fresh Sauvignon Blanc. They will match even better when they are both produced in the same area. Because 'What goes together grows together' often applies.


When matching wine and cheese, preference is often given to white wine because they come on the market in many more variations. Like cheeses, white wines differ from tight and fresh to full and creamy. Does this mean that there is no mouth-watering combination waiting for all you red wine lovers out there? Certainly not, there are also very nice combinations that can be made with red wine. A glass of nice red classic wine often goes well with dry and hard cheeses. Consider, for example, the red wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy. But a slightly chilled Dornfelder from Germany can also be delicious combined with a piece of camembert


So here goes. We have made a general overview of some wine and cheese combinations that will help you put together a beautifully balanced cheese board. Just check which of the cheeses matches your wine and Bob's your uncle. Say cheese to impress.



Blue Cheeses

Blue cheeses are any of several cheeses made with the addition of cultures of edible molds, which create blue-green spots or veins through the cheese. Important trademarked varieties include English Stilton, French Roquefort, and Italian Gorgonzola. Blue cheese is pungent with a distinctive salty and sharp flavour, though it can sometimes be sweet. It is semi-soft, crumbly, and creamy in texture.


Sweet white wines like Sauternes or Moscato for the younger blues. Port and Sherry will pair fantastic with the stronger older blues. Want to keep it white then go for a riesling. Red wines that pair nicely with blue cheeses are Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Or go for Zinfandel's Italian relative Primitivo. Especially an appassimento made Primitivo. Appassimento is a traditional wine production method in Italy, known for its rich, full flavors and complex aromas. These wines are made by allowing the grapes to dry before pressing, resulting in a higher sugar content and an increased concentration of aromas and flavors.


Brie

Brie is a soft cow's-milk cheese with a soft, bloomy, edible rind of white mold. This cheese originated in Seine-et-Marne, France, and is a soft farmhouse cheese. The flavor of a Brie is rich, buttery, fruity, and increasingly earthy with age. It has a runny, creamy texture and a strong earthy aroma


Fresh white wines like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling. If you prefer a red then go for something light like a Pinot or a Beaujolais. Feeling festive then go for a Champagne; bubbly Brie bonanza


Camembert

A French cheese with a white, bloomy rind and a soft, slightly runny interior that ripens closest to the rind first. It is a moist, soft, creamy cow's milk cheese but lower in fat compared to a Brie. It was first made in the late 18th century in Camembert, Normandy, in northwest France. Earthy and sweet tones with its slight hints of caramelized butter and foraged mushrooms.


Like with the Brie go for a Champagne or white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Gewurztraminer. If craving for a red then try a Piot Noir or Gamay.


Cheddar

Cheddar originates from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset and is a semi hard cheese made of cow’s milk. Slightly buttery, moist, and a little melty. Aged cheddars become more nutty, crumbly, and sharp. During the aging process the cheese develops a slightly tangier finish, some earthy notes, and some hard salt-like crystals that add a slight crunch to each bite.


Full bodied reds like a Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz


Goats Cheese

This cheese comes in many different flavours and textures; from crumbly to creamy, young to mature, mild to tangy. A very versatile cheese that in its youth tastes earthy with tangy nuances that sharply sweep the palate. As it ages, the body grows firm without hardening. The consistency instead becomes crumbly, while flavours turn creamy with hints of hazelnut and dried herbs.


Fresh white wines wih some acidity like Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc.


Gruyere / Emmentaler / Comte

Gruyère is classified as a Swiss-type or Alpine cheese and is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavour that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming more assertive, earthy, spicey and complex as it matures. Emmentaler and Comte are quite similar in taste. There are small differences though. The Comte for instance has sligthly stronger tones of butter and hazelnut.


A Pinot Grigio or a nice red from the Bordeaux or Rhone Area. Other grapes that embrace these cheeses are Zinfandel, Syrah, Tempranillo.


Leerdammer

A Dutch semi-hard cheese made from cow's milk with a creamy white texture. Similar in appearance and flavor to Emmentaler, but it is rounder in taste. It has a sweet and somewhat nutty flavour that becomes more pronounced with age


Light reds. We have some beautiful Pinot Noirs that will match perfectly. Rather go for white then try a fresh white. Something like a Pinot Grigio for instance.


Manchego

A pleasantly balanced mix of savory, tangy, and slightly sweet. The cheese is somewhat sharp, but not overwhelmingly so, and features creamy, nutty notes throughout. There is an unmistakable piquant finish that lingers in the mouth.


The classic pairing with the Garnacha grape so pick a nice Spanish one to go with it . We have a lovely Bardos Vinos de Altura that would just go perfect with your Manchego. Other grapes that will embrace this cheese are Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon


Mature Old Cheeses

Go for full bodied red wines such as wines from Bordeaux, Piemonte or Toscane. If the cheese is so mature that it crumbles then match it with a vintage Port.


Mozzarella

A southern Italian semi-soft, non-aged cheese traditionally made from Italian buffalo's milk. Buffalo mozzarella has a delicious mild taste with a bit of saltiness aside


Keep it Italian. A fresh Italian white wine like Pinot Grigio, Pecorino or Grillo.


Parmesan

Parmesan is an Italian hard, granular cheese produced from cows' milk and aged at least 12 months. The flavor power of parmesan can take a savory dish from acceptable to amazing with a dusting of this delicious cheese. Lots of words are used to describe parmesan: rich, tangy, nutty, sharp, complex, fruity, and bold to name a few. It has a somewhat gritty texture and a strong umami taste.


Nice firm reds like Barolo, Chianti or Amarone


So hopefully we helped you decide what cheeses to present with your wine of choice. So get on your bike a go find yourself a nice cheese shop. A cheese board consists of at least three types of cheese. So, although tempting, you don't have to buy every cheese available in the shop.

Make sure there is variation in taste, structure and color on your cheese board. Complete your cheese board with some bread or toast and by placing compotes, chutneys, fruit, nuts or dried meat between the cheeses. Then place the cheeses in the correct order: from soft and mild to spicy and strong. Bon appetit!



Cheese shop with french cheeses




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